By on April 11, 2017

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When Ford updated the Explorer for 2016, many wondered if the mid-cycle refresh was extensive enough. If those voices were on the fence two years ago, then the 2018 update must have them fuming. Where the 2016 model year saw observable styling changes, an improved digital interface, and a brand new engine option, the 2018 model year will receive next to nothing.

While Ford did upgrade the visuals, distinguishing it from the 2017 MY is exceptionally difficult. Ford altered the Explorer’s front clip and grille slightly to make it look 2 percent more like something built by Land Rover, and changes to the rest of the bodywork are far too subtle to notice.

Unless you have a strong affinity toward quad exhaust ports or wifi access, there really isn’t any reason to rush out and buy one. 

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The major upgrades on the 2018 are all about connectivity, further solidifying Ford’s mobility first mindset. The refreshed SUV receives a 4G wireless modem that can simultaneously support up to 10 devices. It also has the latest incarnation of SYNC with FordPass, which allows owners to remotely lock, start, or just keep tabs on the vehicle using their smartphone.

Ford also options the new Explorer with a safety suite that includes improved automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot alerts, cross-traffic warnings, and lane-keeping with assist. The vehicle remains mechanically unchanged, though. Base model Explorers will continue with the 3.5-liter Ti-VTC V6 while the more powerful 2.3- and 3.5-liter EcoBoosts can be had on higher trim levels. Only the Sport and Platinum trims equipped with the turbo V6 come with the four port exhaust.

Ford knows it can continue to sell the Explorer with or without any major mechanical enhancements. Annual deliveries in North America have held above 260,000 units for the last two years and look poised to stay there for 2017. Ford even admits its own projections for the SUV segment show continued growth, and it expects SUV sales to account for over 45 percent of the non-premium U.S. retail industry in the next five to seven years. The Blue Oval is set to introduce five new models and take advantage of this fact by 2020. Hopefully, one of those is a successor to the current generation Explorer, because the D4 platform is starting to get a little long in the tooth.

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[Images: Ford Motor Co.]

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18 Comments on “Ford’s Explorer Largely Unchanged for 2018, Probably Won’t Affect Sales...”


  • avatar
    JimZ

    er, who was expecting major changes for 2018?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “who was expecting major changes for 2018?”

      Not the cops. They’re buying the Police Pkg version like crazy.

      My grandson’s wife in Fallbrook, CA, just got her 2017 CHiP version. He sent me a pic. One mean looking, downright nasty, cruiser to have come up in your rear-view.

      • 0 avatar
        Reino

        They’re all over Denver, with big black grille guards and cammed up motors, screaming past my house in all hours of the night. Are they really better than the Chargers for this use, though?

        • 0 avatar
          Syke

          Does it matter if they’re better? To a lot of county buyers, they’re bigger and meaner. That’s what matters. Image.

          In all honesty, 99% of all police work could be done very competently with a Prius. At better reliability and lower running cost.

          Now what are the odds of getting the local deputy sheriff to be seen in one?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “what are the odds of getting the local deputy sheriff to be seen in one?”

            Less than zero.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          They’re taller. Have better visibility aspects, thus better situational awareness for the driver.

          They’re not as potent as the Charger, but they’re more agile than the Police Tahoe.

          I don’t know how fast these will go, but they can chase down a “runner” on the Interstates without breaking a sweat.

          A friend of mine got a ticket on I25 in NM doing 95 in a 75 zone. The cop was coming toward him, measured his speed with laser, changed direction through the median and caught up with him in no time.

          All my friend remembers is seeing this nasty front end pop up in his rear view, blinking red and blue lights with white strobe-lights, from the radiator grill and windshield of the cruiser.

          Several cities in NM are replacing their tired sedan Cruisers with this new Explorer.

          I’ve seen a number of them in City-Cop and County-Mountie trim as well.

          Ford may have a winner on its hands.

        • 0 avatar
          mikeg216

          Absolutely more room for the officer.. More room for cop stuff in the back.. All wheel drive.. Better mpg.. Costs a bit more but reliability charger is 25 cop spec explorer is about 31

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Hey Ford – how about a Diamond Jubilee edition with special paint, wall to wall velour, padded roof, and a special gold plaque with the owner’s name on it?

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Still the single car on the market that looks most like a Fat American(tm) should drive it. I don’t understand why this bulbous, inflated bodywork is so popular.

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      It sells because a ton of people want a 3 row CUV built by Ford. It absolutely drives worse (sloppier handling, so-so ride) than almost all of its competition. But much like the previous Escape and the previous Equinox, most buyers don’t care if they’re outdated.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I have always thought the current gen Explorer is one of the best looking large CUVs (both pre and post facelift).

      Getting up there in age though.

    • 0 avatar
      9Exponent

      Scanning life through the picture window
      She finds the slinky vagabond
      He coughs as he passes her Ford Mustang, but
      Heaven forbid, she’ll take anything

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    Love the quad exhaust tips, but they should’ve been slightly larger in diameter.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy67

      Four pipes make sense on a turbo 4-cyl, but how’s that work with a V6?

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        AFAICT, most “dual exhausts” are a Y-pipe, so this might just be a Y-pipe with split ends. I could be wrong.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Personally I believe that all V style engines ought to have dual exhausts (even though I know it’s likely both headers feeding into a single catalytic converter, Y-piped to dual exhausts, or a single inlet, dual outlet muffler set up the same). Aesthetically it just makes sense to me.

  • avatar
    RS

    Did Ford ever find out what was letting exhaust in to the cabin area on these?


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